Seventeen Medevac refugees, twelve of those who were forcibly shifted from Kangaroo Point to BITA detention centre last Friday, were woken at 4.00am this morning (Monday 19 April) before being bussed to the airport to be transferred to detention in Melbourne. (Video clip showing some of the chaos of Friday’s move out of Kangaroo Point is available.)
The refugees have now arrived at the Park hotel-prison, in Swanston Street.
In what is more evidence of the panicked circumstances of Border Force’s ejection from Kangaroo Point on 16 April, the refugees had spent three days in BITA crammed, four to a room, into the compound that is used for quarantine purposes at BITA.
The Kangaroo Point refugees are still waiting for their property.
Refugees were forced onto buses at the hotel last Friday with only the clothes they were standing in. Clothes, toiletries, phone chargers, documents and other possessions were left at the hotel.
Serco issued some of the transferred Medevac refugees with a shirt, pants and thongs on Saturday night, but there is still no sign of the clothes they had at the hotel. They have had to borrow clothes from other detainees in BITA.
“There is a long history of possessions being lost in the course of such transfers,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Every shift is traumatic. Most of these guys have lost everything more than once. On Manus their eviction from the old detention centre was violent.”
“They should not have been shifted from Kangaroo Point hotel, they should have been released,” said Rintoul.
Mobile phones were taken from the refugees being transferred, and at least three of the refugees were told they would be handcuffed for the flight to Melbourne.
“We are not cattle, but we are treated like cattle,” one refugee told the Refugee Action Coalition.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417275 713